Key south of Scotland enterprise projects secure funds

image copyrightBorders College
image captionBorders College and Dumfries and Galloway College will receive a large slice of the funding

A group set up to create a "thriving economy" in the Borders and Dumfries and Galloway has awarded £7.7m to four "key projects" in the area.

The South of Scotland Economic Partnership (SOSEP) will pave the way for a full enterprise agency.

The lion's share of the funding goes to Borders and Dumfries and Galloway Colleges to boost digital learning.

A Hawick textiles centre of excellence, regeneration in Annan and community projects are also being funded.

The support to the two colleges - totalling more than £6m - will aim to provide new facilities to facilitate digital learning in rural locations.

Its initial focus will be on training in care, renewable energy and engineering and construction.

Plans for a textiles centre in Hawick aim to address a "critical skills issue" for companies in the area.

image copyrightJim Barton
image captionTweedsmuir is one of seven communities to secure support to boost income generation

Funding for the Annan area is part of efforts to mitigate the impact of job losses at the Pinneys of Scotland plant in the town.

It comes on the same day as a jobs fair is being held to help support workers facing redundancy.

The "sustainable communities" projects will aim to boost income generating activity in seven areas.

They are:

  • Peebles
  • Newlands
  • Tweedsmuir
  • Stranraer
  • Eskdale
  • Kirkcudbright
  • Kirkconnel and Kelloholm

Funding will primarily support project officer posts to identify community needs and agree how to deliver them.

image copyrightPA
image captionFergus Ewing said the funding could give "fresh impetus" to the economy in southern Scotland

What has been said?

  • Announcing the funding in Dumfries, Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing said: "It's great to see the SOSEP injecting fresh impetus into the area's economy. I'm certain that, with the dedicated focus and expertise provided by SOSEP, backed up by significant levels of Scottish government funding, we will see a tangible strengthening of the economic environment in one of Scotland's most important regions."
  • SOSEP's Prof Russel Griggs said: "This funding announcement is exciting news and confirms our ambition and commitment to make the south the thriving economy we know it can be. There is a huge amount of work under way in the partnership to support and develop projects which will deliver long-term social and economic benefits. We will make further funding announcements shortly."
  • Carol Turnbull, CEO of Dumfries and Galloway College, said: "This investment will enable Dumfries and Galloway and Borders Colleges to transform their educational delivery to meet the needs of learners, industry and communities and to support business innovation through the use of technology."
  • Angela Cox, CEO of Borders College, said: "This project gives us a platform to transform how we provide learning opportunities for everyone within the Borders region."

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